The Cavs finally signed Turkish draft-stash Cedi Osman to a three-year deal. The casual fan doesn't know much about him, but I'm all in. Welcome aboard the hype train.
Let's get the boring stuff out of the way first. Cedi Osman is a 22-year-old small forward from Turkey who the Cavaliers drafted in 2015. He has played the last two years with the Andalou Efes in the Turkish Basketball Super League. He is about 6'8", has been playing professionally since 2013, and doesn't have stats that will overly impress you. Are we done now?
Reasons Why I Love Cedi Osman
Reason number 1: The Cavs just got younger! Prior to the Osman commitment, the Cavs' offseason moves were to sign a 36-year-old Jose Calderon, extend the 36-year-old Kyle Korver, and sign 30-year-old Jeff Green (a move which I'm OK with, for what it's worth). Suddenly the team has a 22-year-old who will be around regardless of what happens next summer. There is almost no way to look at this as a bad thing. Lots of people are high on Cedi and if it doesn't work out, he had a small price tag. That's a win.
Reason number 2: Cedi is a small forward. That's LeBron's position. If Cedi Osman is even a replacement level player this season, the burden on James shrinks. That's hugely important for a guy who is 33 years old and has about a billion minutes under his belt. (Admittedly, this would be more important if LeBron James weren't an unprecedented cyborg of a basketball player. But since he is, sure, play him 37 minutes per night again and give him the 2nd night of every back-to-back off.)
Reason number 3: This is by far the most important thing: Foreign players and their mixtapes/highlight reels are one of the great treasures of international basketball. Cedi Osman is no different. Here's the highlight tape which was linked atop the Cleveland.com article announcing his signing. Hold on to your butts, gang.
Oh, my god, there is so much to love here. Let's keep a little diary!
0:22: We haven't seen any basketball yet unless you count a mini celebration and handshakes - both of which are crucial parts of being a bench-player for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Also, Istanbul looks nice!
0:32: No way. The third highlight - the THIRD highlight - is a free throw. This is incredible. Cedi Osman has played four years of professional basketball plus two years on the Turkish National team and we're seeing a free throw after a couple of layups. I love this so much. The only way this could get better is if - oh my god.
0:34: THE FREE THROW RATTLED AROUND THE RIM. This is the most incredible thing I've ever seen.
0:57: I love me some defensive highlights. Was that Sergio Rodriguez? It sure looks like him, and both guys were in EuroBasket 2015, so it's possible. Speaking of which, I probably would take Sergio Rodriguez over Jose Calderon at this point.
1:25: Corner three! That's the most useful thing I've seen in this video thus far, considering that's what every player who plays near LeBron James needs to do. This would also be a good time to point out that Cedi shot just 34% from deep this past season in a league where the three-point line is shorter than the NBA. That's not great. Although he was 38% the season before, so who knows what to believe?
1:32: More handshakes! I can't wait to see what LeBron has in store for him. This is my new favorite subplot of the upcoming Cavs season.
1:44: This dude sure likes laying it up when he has chances to dunk it. Is he maybe not as athletic as I'd like him to be? Probably, right?
1:48: A thumbs up!! This is huge! The Cavs have lacked a good White Guy Giving Thumbs Ups since Delly left town, and this thumb looks like it could be the heir apparent. Look at that form: Lip curled, eyes closing, chin going down - he's got it all.
2:30: Uh oh. That's a breakaway dunk and his head doesn't even reach the bottom of the backboard. In fact, the editor of this video speeds through it to hide how not-very-high Osman got. I guess my suspicion from 1:44 was probably correct. It's probably not a big deal though, right? The bottom of the backboard is a bit over 9'2" off the ground in the NBA, minus Cedi's 6'8" height and his full-stride vertical leap comes out to be in the high 20s. OK. That's substantially better than Anderson Varejao's was, so...sure. Fine. He's not going to jump over dudes.
2:37: Any chance Cedi is the guy inside that mascot costume? That would be fun.
3:02: It's over? Man, for a 3:13 video we had over 30 seconds of dead time at the beginning and end, plus some glamor shots of Cedi in the middle (kind of felt like a modeling reel for a moment there). Not to mention at least four seconds were spent on a free throw.
OK. So after watching this, can we all agree that if Cedi Osman isn't the best European import since Dirk, at least this video is Oscar worthy?
Really though, we saw a few nice defensive plays, and while highlight tapes aren't exactly a reliable source for defensive prowess, only one of the first nine YouTube results for "Kyrie Irving defensive highlights" is actually Kyrie's defense. So, you know, maybe highlights are somewhat indicative of a player?
By many accounts, Osman is a solid outside shooter, an athletic, capable defender, and a guy who plays to his own strengths. Here's a video touting the progress he's made since being drafted by Cleveland, although some of the numbers disagree with other sources. There's a nice run of catch-and-shoots where he looks pretty comfortable, some pump-and-drives, and a lot of steals. If you watch all the way through, Turkishprospects.com says he's one of the best defenders in Europe. As Nic Cage might say, that's high praise.
So there you go. In these few minutes, I've compared Cedi Osman to Delly, a mascot, and Dirk Nowitzki. No matter how he turns out, I get to say I was right. Perfect. I love this guy.